Have you heard the fabulous news? Commercial Surrogacy is now legal in the state of Washington! We are very excited about this news and asked ConceiveAbilities' in-house Director of Legal Services & Client Advocacy, Meg Ledebuhr, to provide us with a little more clarity on this advancement.
Article written by Meg Ledebuhr
Washington has updated its parentage laws and has brought them into conformity with the many ways in which children are being born. The bill affects literally every child born in the state and protects the legal status of that child. Prior to the passage of this law, many children born in the state of Washington were greeted with an unsettled legal status.
The new law, passed only last week, updates the Uniform Parentage Act that governs how legal parent-child relationships are established or challenged. Changes to the Uniform Parentage Act replace references to mother and father with gender-neutral designations thereby removing the ability to discriminate parents based on sexual orientation or marital status. The law also details the criteria for a nonbiological parent to be a de facto parent.
"I am thrilled with this change and I look forward to the day when every state makes the legislative changes necessary to not only promote modern family building but also protect modern families, as Washington has just done."
Of course, we at ConceiveAbilities are very excited about how commercial surrogacy, previously prohibited in Washington, is now legalized. The law requires a pre-pregnancy contract between the surrogate and the intended parents along with a host of safeguards intended to protect both parties. These guidelines include requirements for medical and mental health evaluations. The law treats the intended parents of a child born through gestational surrogacy as legal parents, without the need for a court order or judgment. Genetic, or “traditional” surrogacy, in which the surrogate is genetically related to the child, also is permitted but with additional requirements for the contracts.
The law includes comprehensive regulation of third party surrogacy brokers and the requirement that the woman acting as the surrogate has legal counsel throughout the entire arrangement, not just during the contract.